Crime Legend

Tom Hardy is the king of films. He easily moves between block buster and independent movies trying new things and taking roles that interest him. He doesn’t play the Hollywood games but still managed to get nominated for an Academy Award. Hardy is more than just a pretty face or some eccentric that other actors shun; he is amazingly talented and incredibly versatile.

Legend is a crime thriller based on the lives of the Kray twins and their organized crime in East London during the 50’s and 60’s.Told in the voice of Frances Shea, who would become Reggie’s wife, the movie chronicles their relationship, the relationship of the two brothers, and the many crimes the twins commit.

He has played comic book characters, battled a dystopian future without much dialogue, and proved that you can enjoy a movie featuring just one man driving a car. Often the movies themselves cannot live up to Hardy’s performance but they are worth viewing to watch this amazing man sharpen his craft. Legend may only skim the surface of the plot, but Hardy dives deep into these characters proving that he is a master of his craft. Both of his twins are very different and you almost wouldn’t believe they were the same person. They had their own voice, their own walk and their own way to reacting to others.

Unfortunately, this is one of the movies doesn’t live up to his performance. Like Child 44 and The Regnant, these films fail in their story telling and Hardy is the best part of the movie (except for The Reverent; the cinematography gives Hardy a run for his money). Legend doesn’t delve deep into the Kray brother. It seems to gloss over their emotions and true motivations. The majority of characters fall flat as they aren’t written with enough depth for the actors to work with these actors include the Doctor himself Chris Eccleston and the up and coming Taron Egerton). The Twin’s story seems to be a truly thought provoking story but the script only skitters across the surface.

If you are renting a Tom Hardy movie this weekend, I encourage you to go The Drop, probably Hardy’s most underrated movie.

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Kingsmen

Kingsmen: The Secret Service is hands down one of the best movies of the year. Colin Firth leads a top notch cast in this humorous look at the spy world directed by Matthew Vaugh (X-Men: First

KSS_JB_D11_01354 - (From left) Harry (Colin Firth), Eggsy (Taron Egerton), Merlin (Mark Strong), Roxy (Sophie Cookson) and Percival (Alastair Macintosh) display varying reactions to an extraordinary event at the Kingsmen training facility.

Class).

Harry sees the potential in Gary “Eggsy” Unwin, an inner city kids whose mom is stuck in the mob life. When Eggy calls in a favor from the Kingsmen, Harry takes Eggsy under his wing and trains him for a spot in the elite service. Eggsy learns fighting skills, espionage techniques, and most importantly, how to be a true gentleman. All of Eggsy’s new acquired skills are put to the test when an eccentric millionaire tries to take over the world.

Kingsman combines humor and action, making it more than just a spy spoof. With subtle mocking of society and our depended on technology, Kingsmen looks at the ways of older generations and blends them with aspects of these latest generation to create a human ideal. Though I make it sound like it, the movie isn’t preachy; its tongue in cheek and full of laughter. Witty and smart, here more than just slap stick and potty humor (yes, there is some of that). At the end of the film, you are pleased to have passed the time with these characters and anxious to watch it again.

 

 

Maggie

08-maggie.w750.h560.2xThis zombie drama starring, Abigail Breslin and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is truly as good as all the hype. Focusing on family and the psychological aspects of the change, Maggie is a suspenseful thriller instead of a gory horror movie.

On a farm in the Midwest, Wade (Schwarzenegger) must deal the fact that his run -way daughter has been bitten by a zombie. Medical science has been studying the phenomenon and has no answers, just quarantine. Maggie, the titular daughter, must deal with a slow transition into a monster. With a father who loves her and a step-mother who is afraid of her, she must deal with more than just family life; she must deal with becoming undead.

Maggie is a realistic look at the zombie apocalypse. No major event happens. No half decaying bodies are running around. Instead, it focuses on how a family deals with disease and the inevitable death of a cherished member. It is a metaphor of an aging world cloaked in zombie trappings. Scaring you more by your mind than by your eyes, Maggie is the most subtle of zombie films. My friend was freaked out by the movie because of how real it was; she said several times “They are showing it as if it can actually happen.”  That scares me more than other zombie movie I’ve ever seen.

 

Child 44

The movie focuses less a murder mystery that it does on the state of life in the Soviet Union doting that the 1950’s.  Don’t expect a taunt crime thriller; instead, be prepared for lingering despair,

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hope in humanity, and malleable relationships.

Leo becomes a hero in the Russian secret police.  Promoted quickly, he rubs elbows with the higher ups. But when a longtime friend comes to him about the possible murder of his child, he becomes a liability to his superiors. When his wife is set up as a traitor, Leo is demoted but doesn’t give up on finding out who perpetrated the heinous crime.

Child 44 is slow. Little attention is paid to the mur-I mean accidents that happen to these children. Instead we see Leo’s life unfurl,  beginning with his heroism followed by his  inevitable down fall  and setting forth on his noble quest. If you were unaware of how dark Russia was during this time, then you will be surprised about how bad it was for anyone under the regime. Hardy gives an excellent performance (as always) easily portraying the irony that his character suffers from- his ladder to the top is also his downfall. Charge with emotional and driven by character development, Child 44 is not a who-done-it, but a picture of a world that was real not that long ago.

 

Dark Places

Based on the hands down best book by Gillian Flynn, Dark Places follows real human beings and the dark places inside them.

Dark-Places-Movie-2015-starring-Charlize-Theron-and-Nicholas-HoultLibby survived the massacre of her family when she was young. The only family member besides her to make it out alive is her brother who has been convicted of killing her mother and sisters. Libby hasn’t adapted well to post-tragedy life and has coast on a trust fund provided by a public with big hearts. But the donations start drying up and her book isn’t making any money, so she desperately accepts the offer to speak at a local “Murder Club.” The group meets to discuss murder cases, solve the unsolved and fact checking the solved ones. When they suggest her brother Ben is innocent, she can’t emotionally handle it but the promise of money to research what really happened is too good to pass up. Switching between the present and that her family was murdered, Libby and the audience find out what really happened that night.

The movie is better than Gone Girl because the script and story are stronger. Instead of straight up psychos (this does not disclose any psychos in this move), the story centers on real people and the murid of ways our psyche deals with the hurts in our lives. From lies to love to betrayal to sacrifice, the movie runs the gambit of human emotions and what we each see as the injuries in our lives. Backed by powerful performances by Charlize  Theron, Christina Hendricks, and Drea de Matteo, Dark Places is an excellent film.

A Ride Down Fury Road

Reviving an old franchise is difficult especially one where last movie featured Tina Turner (she is amazing don’t get me wrong, but that was a whole other era.). So how do you revive a dead franchise? Do you Indiana Jones it and bring back the aging but iconic star? Do you reboot the series and rewrite its history ala Terminator? Or do you stick with the atmosphere and bring in a brilliant director? (If you’re counting: one of these have succeeded, one failed miserably, while one is yet to be determined). This one sticks with the atmosphere and George Miller, injects all the Mad Max chaos and brutality into Fury Road.

In a post-apocalyptic world, Max is used as a blood bag for one of Immortan Joe’s goons who is on the trail of Imperator Furiosa. What had started as a gas run turns into a quest for freedom as Furiosa tries to escape with the handful of women that are being used as Joe’s breeding chattel. As the chase ensues, Max frees himself and becomes a reluctant partner in Furiosa’s scheme. The two are chased through the vast desert landscape looking for Furiosa’s homeland where freedom will be theirs.

Miller was the perfect director and co-writer for this film as his mind is as chaotic as the movie itself. There have been reports from the actors that script pages changed daily (when there was a script) and Charlize Theron admits to rolling in the dirt for her look. The actors embraced this quality, and the casting was expertly done. Theron shows the earthy side of a Hollywood starlet (Theron, who despite her beauty, never has any problem getting dirty) and Tom Hardy grunts through his lines as the titular Max. Hardy is a chameleon easily sliding into any character role including this one.pacnv9d5s2ov5i0qt2px

The movie biggest it strength is also it weakness. The movie is INTENSE. While it’s easy to follow the plot, it is hard to take everything in. The movie is visually stunning perfectly portraying the wasteland man has created of the earth. Each goon’s vehicle has different flair make them individualized since they themselves all look some much alike. By the last third of the movie, I was mentally exhausted and the movie slows some to give the characters time to grow. But then viewers are whisked away again to a satisfying conclusion. There is no cliff hanger that begs for franchise, but there is a promise of more stories that can be told.

The final third of the film gives the emotional impact that matches the brutal intent in the rest of the movie. This is where you finally learn something about Max and see the characters as more than just one dimensional archetypes. Though it’s called Mad Max, it’s really not about Max at all. The film follows Imperator Furiosa and her personal mission for freedom and the green land. Hardy pretty much spends most of the movie looking pretty (even covered in dirt). In the movie’s final throws, he actually shows some characteristics other than a man bent on survival.

Mad Max Fury Road calls for multiple viewings as well as a look back into the original films. Hardy claims that Mel Gibson gave his blessing, and he should have: this film is a great addition to the franchise. If The Wasteland (Miller’s planned sequel) can be this good, then by all means keep Max coming.

Pick Up The Drop

Dennis Lehane is a master story teller and his genius as an author has not gone unnoticed by Hollywood. Classics such as Mystic River and Shutter Island have been adapted to the big screen by prominent directors. Lehane has lent his talents to the small screen as well as working on The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. Now, on Blu-ray and DVD, one of his short stories comes to.

The Drop is based on the short story “Animal Rescue” which Lehane expanded it into a novel and adapted it as a feature film. Bob (Tom Hardy) is a quiet bartender whose bar has been taken over by organized crime. The bar is used as a “drop” point, a place where dirty money is held until it can be picked up. When the bar is robbed, Bob and his boss have to deal with the repercussions and angry mobsters. Meanwhile, Bob finds a beaten pit bull in a trash can and decides to adopt it. But trouble ensues after the dog’s original owner comes back wanting the dog. Bob must deal with the pressure on both his personal and professional life.THE-DROP-TOM-HARDY_0

The tale is classic Lehane. Viewers become entangled with characters and react emotionally to them. Viewers feel sympathy for Hardy as Bob and his life begins to unravel. Then, suddenly, the whole tale is flipped on its side and viewers see a new side of the characters, giving them more depth and realism. This keeps the plot from being just another mob movie.

Lehane has been lucky with the casting and directing of his adaptations. When in the skilled hands of Clint Eastwood or Martin Scorsese, these tales come to life in vivid detail. The Drop features unknown Michaël R. Roskam, a more subtle director, who pairs well with the simple Bob. But, what truly makes the film stand out is the cast.

Lehane’s characters are heart breaking, real, and moving when handled by great actors. Shutter Island would have been a wreck if Leonardo DiCaprio had not handled the intricacies of the main character with ease, and the same can be said here. At first, it seems like James Gandolfini gives the strongest performance. He is great as the cranky Marv who wishes his life has been different. Hardy’s understated performance seems very low key for him but once Lehane twists the plot viewers truly see the work Hardy has done with the character. The intensity is balanced with an everyman vibe and Hardy shines. A lesser actor could not have pulled off the performance.

The Drop is a carefully woven tale that proves why Dennis Lehane is a master at his craft. The film is also a wonderful testament to the late James Gandolfini. Pick up this twist on Mobster movies today.

Locke In

Tom Hardy has received massive critical acclaim in his newest movie Locke. An indie British flick, Hardy is the only man you see on screen. The movie is thought provoking but lacks the bite it needs.

Locke follows Ivan Locke on his hour and a half drive to London.  On that drive Locke decides that he must do the right thing so someone’s life does not end up like his. But as he drives he must deal with the fallout in his life and has to realize how many other lives are on the line. Locke finds that not only his home life but his work life is on the line as well.

It’s clear to see why the critics love Locke. Hardy is a magnificent actors and this real time excursion allows him to showcase his full acting tool box. He easily and believably runs the gamut of emotions and makes viewers feel each one. Because of this the movie leaves you with a visceral feeling as your drive away from the theater (or from your home as the case may be). Viewers truly see how easy it is too lose everything you know; how one mistake can cause you to loose your job, your family. Locke excels at making you think and feel.

What Locke does not do is giving viewers a satisfying ending for a man and his transgressions. Ivan Locke is unlikeable. It’s hard to imagine that he was ever more than he portrays himself in the movie though it is fun to see him move towards a nervous breakdown. But there is no payout.  His punishment is too pedestrian to be art and that is what viewers expect from this film.

Hardy walks the fine line of commercial and critical success even though he is not yet a household name. He chooses roles that allow him to fully become the character, but sometimes that isn’t enough Sometimes viewers just need to feel good about a movie.

Why Blood & Chrome Was Not Picked Up

The world of Battlestar Galactica is not dead. Battlestar Galactica Blood & Chrome was originally made as a two-hour TV pilot. Fans have been clamoring for more of the BSG world but B&C ultimately did not make it past a web series. SYFY then showed it as a two-hour movie and released it on Blu-Ray and DVD. The low budget flick is rife with lighting and technical issues, but this isn’t why B&C didn’t get off its feet as a TV show. Here’s why.

1. It Was Too Melodramatic

In 188 minutes, lots of people died, families were left fatherless, two virtual strangers had sex, lovers were betrayed, and a nuclear bomb was set off sacrificing soldiers for cylon death. That is a lot of material to cover in such a short span of time. While BSG was a space soap opera, the content was spread evenly over a variety of episodes adding just enough emotion to an action packed episode. B&C dumps it all in and you just don’t care about anyone or any situation. Cylons stole human data? Who cares? It’s happened a bazillion times before on the original show.

2. It Didn’t Learn Anything from Caprica

Caprica failed in a major way because it did not give us the characters, or cylons, we love (and love to hate). While the creation of the cylons is intriguing, viewers were supposed to bond with some disembodied girl and to identify with the pain of her father. It did not focus on any characters we knew (though a really young Adam showed up). The cylons were just machines; viewer did not have conflicted feeling for them as sentient beings. Plus, they still looked like robots. Caprica was slow and viewers had to labor through episode after episode just to see the first cyclone come alive. B&C pulls the same thing; the actual plot takes forever to present itself. In an effort to develop a twist, the plot leaves the viewers to wonder “what the hell are they actually doing?”

battlestarbloodchrome3. It Had the Wrong Focus

Viewers do not want to see young Adama. Not as a child, and not as a new pilot. I would have been really excited if the movie had focused on Adama and Tigh meeting and their growing relationship during their fight of the cylons. This would have been welcome backstory and create a sci-fi buddy story. An even better idea? Do a cyclone origin series. Why did the cylons pick those humanoid bodies? What inspired that? Either of these ideas would have brought the viewer’s back to characters we had already bonded with.

4. It didn’t have Tom Hardy in It

Or any other good looking or decent actor. Honestly, besides Ben Cotton as the co-pilot, the acting was subpar. Adama and Kelly were annoying and I had trouble identifying with the characters. The best part of the whole thing was Tricia Helfer’s uncredited addition.

BSG has not had great success with the post TV show projects (just watch The Plan) but it has lots of potential. Now if they can only get it right.

Hardy Becomes the Real Star of Lawless

Based on the book The Wettest County in the World, Lawless tells the story of a bootlegger family as they deal with the law and the mob during Prohibition. While not the best movie every made, it’s enjoyable with a predictable outcome and some might fine acting.

The movie follows the youngest Bondurant brother Jack (played by Shia LaBeouf) as he turns from coward into a prideful, arrogant man. It’s hard to like Jack. As the movie begins, his only real job in the bootlegging business is driving the car and an altercation outside a delivery shows that he hasn’t matured enough to really get into the business. But when he makes one deal that goes right and suddenly he is a big wig dating a preacher’s daughter, flaunting his wealth. This culminates when Jack learns that pride comes before the fall.

It is Forrest, the Bondurant patriarch, who captures his audience’s attention. He tries to teach Jack the ways of the world but steps back when the foolish boy won’t learn his lesson. He’s the kind of father, protector many woman want. Quiet, loyal, and stands up for his freedom. The filmmaker’s seem to sense this and spend time developing that character. Tom Hardy plays the enigmatic eldest brother wonderfully from the slumped bowlegged walk to the grunts that portray many answers. Hardy has a musical Appalachian drawl that would put a rattle snack to sleep.

Forrest displays brute strength and wisdom. When teaching Jack about standing up for himself, he says that it’s not violence that makes the man, but if he goes as far as necessary. Forrest’s biggest is concern is that the brothers don’t give in to the corrupt deputy sheriff who is charging safety fees for delivering their moonshine. He doesn’t strike the enemy but plainly states his stance on the subject and walks away. It is only after two of the villain’s men try to kill him and rape his girlfriend that he deems violent death necessary. In fact, the movie takes a scene from Sons of Anarchy episode, “FunTown.”

I was surprised to see how little Gary Oldman was in the film (the second picture this summer featuring Hardy and Oldman together). He plays a mob boss that becomes one of the best buyers to the Bourdant brothers. As always, his acting is spot on and you would never believe that was Commissioner Gordon.

NickCave penned the script and seamlessly movies from song writer to screen play author. The movie is full of pithy quotes and meaningful moments and flips the roles of stereotypes. The music fit in perfectly for the mood time and time of the film creating a concise portrayal.

Less a tale of bootlegging and more a tale of family and of coming of age, Lawless is a lovely period peace with some punch. Forget sending me away with the words of a love song, Hardy’s voice as Forrest is the last thing I want to hear.

 

Hit & Run Leaves Lots of Casualties

Every so often a movie comes along that almost defies explanation concerning how bad it is. Earlier this year, the horror genre had Cabin in the Woods, an overloaded, badly directed crap fest. Now the comedy genre has its own reigning king: Hit & Run.

Hit & Run is a mindless story about a guy in witness (witless?) protection program who leaves his U.S. Marshal’s protection to take his girlfriend to a job interview in L.A.  The couple is then pursued by the girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend, the guy’s marshal, and the crooks that he snitched on.

Dax Shepard writes and co-directed this story about a loser with no jobs and no friends, who manages to land Kristen Bell. Only a man-child like Shepard could conceive of a story where a loser is put as the hero while the successful beautiful girlfriend is made as a nag and career obsessed. How did the snitch and the P.H. D. in non-violent conflict resolution even meet? The plot is overly thicken by the couple being chased by at least three other parties including the inept Marshal and the three crooks. Adding the ex-boyfriend was overkill, and I certainly wanted the ex (played by Lollipop Chainsaw’s Michael Rosenbaum) to rescue her from Charlie Bronson and the resulting mess of gunfire and car chases.

The lack of intelligent humor kills the film. The viewers are supposed to be entertained by escaping mini vans, flying bowling balls, and naked elderly people. Even when the movie has opportunity for any depth, it comes up short. When asked why he chose the name Charles Bronson, instead of an ironic, funny answer, Charlie mumbles something about not being that person anymore. (The Charles Bronson reference here is the notorious UK prisoner who is known for his violence and for kidnapping a prison guard. For an interesting look at the guy’s life check out the well-acted movie Bronson staring a naked Tom Hardy). Any self revelation or humor is quickly gone.

Bradley Copper manages to insert some laughs. Cooper plays Alex Dmitri, the crook who Charlie put away. As always, Cooper tackles his role with aplomb and gives depth to the crook. It’s the characters love for dogs and the ensuing madness that is the bright spot of this movie. Plus, props must be given to the costumer, make-up artists, and hairstylist who managed to make Cooper unattractive.

Coopers role, like the rest of the cast, was written by Shepard to their acting strengths. But this doesn’t lead to quality acting. Bell is not at her comedic best and comes off as nagging instead of any of the strong humor we saw so much of in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Tom Arnold totally overacts, and I am left to wonder if they gave him vodka and Red Bull and then set him loose on the set. Shepard himself tries to channel Owen Wilson but can’t manage the charm or the cuteness. The only other light besides Cooper is Jason Bateman’s small part as a U.S. Marshall.

The film had two directors (David Palmer assists Shepard) but like so many movies with two directors, it did not help the quality of the film. Like Silent House, the two directors did nothing to keep out weird shots and angels and keeping the story cohesive. The worst parts are the car chases. Unlike the fun absurdity of The Fast & The Furious, these car chase like substance and luster. They are filmed oddly and have a peculiar line-up. One scene included a Corvette, a station wagon and a mini van chasing each other on and off road while amazingly they are all keeping up with each other.

The only irony in the movie wasn’t intended. Bell’s character nags Charlie about what type of person is attracted to his soupped up get away-car, implying he is not better than the red neck thief they encounter. This becomes the running theme of the movie: There has to be an audience who will happily watch a car rev and spin in endless circles before a car chase. There has to be an audience that thinks full frontal elderly nudity is funny. There has to be an audience that finds Dax Shepard funny. But what does that say about the person Shepard is? And what does that say about what he thinks about his friends?

The Dark Knight Rises for a Final Time

The first portion of this review contains no spoilers. The second portion under the pictures contains spoilers in order to review the movie as a conclusion to the series.

 

A better movie than the first, a different beat from the second, The Dark Knight Rises is an action packed thrill ride. This fantastic blend of insane comic like violence and fabulous special effects wraps up Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Bruce Wayne tale.

This go around, Bruce Wayne is a recluse with a questionable limp wallowing in self pity. As the city of Gotham celebrates the eight year anniversary of Harvey Dent Day and peace from organized crime, a master thief sneaks into Wayne manner unknowingly setting forth a terrorist attack on the city. Enter Bane, a largely muscled, masked villain who takes control of the money trading operations in the city. This leads to the fall of Bruce Wayne, Commissioner Gordon being shot, and, ultimately, the Batman returning. Bane takes control of a bomb that can destroy the city, and he calls up the citizen to rebel against the government. He threatens to blow up the entire city if anyone leaves the island. Selena Kyle and Wayne must partner up to save the city.

At first, the movie seems peppered with plot holes and unanswered questions, but these are leaving room for plot twists that change you perspective on the characters and their motives. The script works hard to make this entry a cohesive package winding the three movies together. The attention left on Harvey Dent gets old, and you wonder if he wasn’t meant to be yet another villain.  In fact, as with every Batman since Tim Burton’s first foray, the films have suffered from too many villains. But this script winds them together rather evenly making their stories mesh.

The movie is at its best when it is showing off the special effects and the well directed stunts. The best of these are Batman’s fight with Bane, a character that Batman can’t use all his gadgets to defeat. These slug fests helps round out Batman’s humanity as Bane pounds into him. Hans Zimmer continues to ramp up the tension with his pounding score. The visual ascetics add to the tone. It’s a brighter Gotham than we’ve seen implying that the city is at peace after Dent.

The majority of acting is top notch. Bale gives a wonderful performance, and his Batman voice has settled some. Speaking of voices, Tom Hardy gambles with a unique voice for Bane and scores. More coherent than many people will lead you to believe, Bane’s voice calls to mind a psychotic Sean Connery using an augmenter. In fact, fans of Hardy should be able to hear the distinct sound of his voice with in his Bane mumble. Anne Hathaway does well as Catwoman but her voice and sexuality are over done. You can tell she is trying hard to be sexy and seductive, whereas many other actresses could have just oozed the sexiness. Her version of Catwoman quickly becomes as normal as Bale’s Batman voice. TV fans will be excited to see Josh Stewart and Desmond Harrington from Criminal Minds and Dexter respectively.

The much anticipated conclusion to Nolan’s Batman trilogy lives up to the hype. Full of twists and complex characters, it’s the superhero movie of the year.

Read on past the photos for the spoiler filled part of the review.

 

Warning: Spoilers

The Dark Knight Rises wraps up the Nolan-directed trilogy excellently. With appearances from Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy, the villains are woven together in a way that gives a complete picture of the Gotham underworld. It seems odd to say about villains, but it’s like beloved characters coming back from the dead. Originally, when I read that they purposely left out the Joker, I felt it was the right decision. But after watching the film, it seems like he has been forgotten instead of being revered. Especially with Ra’s Al Ghul comes back from the dead and tying all the characters from the film are all linked together.

I was also pleased with the ending. I did see the ultimate ending concerning the legacy of Batman coming after reading Entertainment Weekly. Blake’s fate is beautiful. Not only is it hopeful and rounds out the Batman legacy, it proves that anyone can be a hero. I think this idea resounds more than the political rhetoric of Bane and Tate. What I really loved about the ending was that Batman and Catwoman finally go together. It’s something fans have wanted for a long time. Not only did this ending give Kyle’s character depth, but Wayne can quit whining about women which has always bugged me.

The only thing I was really displeased with was that Alfred left. While I’m not up to speed on all the comics, it still seems out of character. Alfred has always been a father figure that helped keep him safe. Then suddenly he leaves like the best friend that can’t watch a crack addict kill himself. And while there may be parallels, I never thought Alfred would do it.

The movie is probably the best third sequel since Indian Jones and the Last Crusade leaving Nolan’s reboot on a high note.

This Means More War

This Mean War now on:

DVD, Blu-ray, Combo Pack with Digital Copy

McG directs a homourus talel about two spies vying for the love of one woman. More hilarious and touching than the previews suggested, FDR and Tuck are best friends/brothers who work the CIA. When Reese Witherspoon’s Lauren Scott enters the pictures, the men’s friendship is put in jeopardy. The two make a “gentleman’s” bet to see who Lauren really wants to be. This agreement quickly changes as they pull out every weapon in their arsenal to sabotage each other. The two must get over their differences as a Russian mobster not only puts their lives at risk, but Lauren’s as well.

McG directs with that a quirky style of humor and action. Like the web series Aim High he produces, the move is at the same time funny and thrilling, and it stars really hot guys. The opening sequence is outrageous and rather unbelievable, but the scene is meant to be so. The outrageousness quickly translates into the two men being grounded gving background and moving the plot along. The other actions sequences are toned down to movie believability.

Your heart aches for the sweet Tuck who truly wants a lasting relationship but can still kill a man with his bare hands. Hardy handles these paradoxical sides easy, and Tuck easily becomes my favorite character. Chelsea Handler is hilarious as Lauren’s best friend. She’s the perfect inappropriate friend who says everything you’re thinking but afraid to say. Through no fault of Pine, I never took a liking to FDR even as love begins to change him from the promiscuous playboy. I think my womanly bias comes out every time.

 

Extras

The Blu-ay comes with the theatrical version as well as an extended version. Unlike many movies, the extend version ads longer than 30 seconds. A whole sequence involving Tuck’s “family” has been included. While the scenes are hilarious and I will never complain about having more Hardy, the sequence itself detracts from the story and really puts Tuck in a bad light.

Standard extras include the standard variety of special content. There is a gag reel as well as Commentary by McG as well as deleted scenes. The majority of the deleted scenes were wisely cut as they slowed down the movie and took away from the over all humorous feel. The pre-viz for an alternate scene is a bore.
The most fascinating extra is the alternate endings. With this movie, alternate ending doesn’t just include the same resolution just filmed differently. There is an ending for all of Lauren’s options. Viewer see how the movie would have ended if she had chosen Tuck or FDR and there is even an ending where she chooses herself over them both. Also included is an alternate sequence where Lauren is kidnapped by the Russian mobster and taken to a warehouse. This version is much darker and would have changed the overall tone of the story.

 If you missed This Means War, catch it on DVD, Blu ray or Combo pack. Once you’ve watched and laughed, check out the alternate ending to see what might have been.